Yes, according to Malaysiakini, this is a problem that should be highlighted:
International broadcaster BBC has admitted that it has aired to millions of people worldwide, programmes made by a public relations company hired by the Malaysian government.
According to Nik Nazmi, this is also a problem:
Putrajaya and Kuching were found to have paid FBC hundreds of millions of ringgit for strategic communications services and the production of friendly content for their governments, something clearly in contravention of fundamental media laws and ethics. It must also be pointed out that FBC was also involved in the engaging of APCO Worldwide to lobby the US government on behalf of Barisan Nasional to promote Malaysia’s pro-business and pro-reform credentials as well as the reforms and anti-terrorism policies introduced…
Surely Putrajaya and Kuching must now disclose their role in and extent of this illegal public relations campaign. This scandal ironically comes in the wake of the censoring of the Economist magazine report on the Bersih 2.0 debacle. As a result, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was forced to concede the need to review national censorship policies. We would now like the Prime Minister to come clean on the FBC fiasco to explain how hundreds of millions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money were being funnelled not towards the national image, but for the interests of his party.
Both Malaysiakini and Nik Nazmi (the Communications Director of PKR) must be grasping at straws to even bring this issue up.
Nik Nazmi and Malaysiakini must also confused itself that Barisan Nasional is not part of the government. Nik Nazmi even become more foolish when he, as a member of parliament seems to think that he is not part of the government of Malaysia.
Here is the original article by BBC regarding this matter:
BBC drops film-maker over Malaysia impartiality fears
The BBC is investigating how it aired programmes made by a company that allegedly received millions of pounds in payments from Malaysia’s government.
The BBC has suspended all programming by UK-based production company FBC, which has made documentaries on controversial issues in Malaysia.
The BBC said it has strict agreements with independent producers “including avoiding any conflict of interest”.
FBC has denied any wrongdoing in its programme-making for any broadcaster.
FBC told the UK newspaper The Independent via its lawyers that “at no time have the television programmes made for the BBC ever been influenced or affected by our client’s commercial activities“.
FBC has made several documentaries for the BBC about Malaysia since 2009, examining controversial issues such as the palm oil industry and its treatment of indigenous people.
The most recent programme was aired on BBC World News this summer.
A BBC spokesman said: “FBC has admitted to the BBC that it has worked for the Malaysian government. That information was not disclosed to the BBC as we believe it should have been when the BBC contracted programming from FBC.
“Given this, the BBC has decided to transmit no more programming from FBC while it reviews its relationship with the company.”
“All independent TV companies who produce programmes for BBC World News have to sign strict agreements to ensure programmes meet the BBC’s editorial guidelines, including avoiding any conflict of interest.”
The more indepth story can be read in this article by The Independent.
From the BBC article above, the gist of the story is that BBC somehow is perplexed that a production company received money by the Malaysian government to produce programs that may breach their strict editorial guidelines. There are investigating the situation right now. In the mean time, the said production company, FBC Media, denied any wrong doing i.e., breaching the agreement.
I do not know how they do it in the West, but for the benefit of Malaysiakini and Nik Nazmi, whenever we employ a production company to create a content programmes, we have to pay for the services rendered.
This services is worth approximately RM28million ringgit.
Since this amount was tabled in Parliament we can now promptly tell Nik Nazmi that his assertions that this exercise tantamount to ‘illegal public relations campaign’ is wrong.
And what is so wrong about “promoting Malaysia’s pro-business and pro-reform credentials as well as the reforms and anti-terrorism policies introduced”?
So this issue of promoting Malaysia to the eyes of the world has become a tremendously evil thing a government of Malaysia would do?
We do not have to delve deeper into our brain compartments to know that the benefits of promoting Malaysia worldwide outweighs the costs associated with it.
One of the documentary produced by FBC Media was about our palm oil industry. Citing the ‘key role of the Malaysian palm oil industry in meeting the growing demand for food in countries such as China and India. “Once an efficient production centre for rubber, Malaysia over the years has increasingly turned to oil palm,” said the voiceover. “The country is now one of the world’s biggest exporters, producing 40 per cent of global supply, and is reaping the economic benefits of higher demand from Asia.”‘ Source.
Another documentary is about the indigenous people in Sarawak, specifically the Ibans where it ‘explored the lifestyle of the tribal Iban people and took a boat ride to visit a traditional longhouse. “Tourism not only brings in money, it also encourages youngsters to keep alive skills that might otherwise have died out,” he reported. “For the past 40 years, the Malaysian government has practised an affirmative-action policy aimed at raising the living standards of indigenous groups.”‘ (same source)
Pardon me, maybe I am naive. But I would always support any moves to promote and advertise our country’s oil palm and tourism internationally. Is it a sense of misplaced patriotism? Maybe. But people like Nik Nazmi and Malaysiakini who not only displayed utter disregard of the truth and simply criticize without substance, worse, in contempt of what the government is doing for the sake of Malaysians, be surely the least patriotic people at this moment.
On a side note, the Government of Malaysia is made of three branches – the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.
The opposition in Malaysia is part of the Legislative branch by default because of their position as Members of Parliament. Therefore whatever they do in Parliament is reflective of the actions made by the Government of Malaysia.
Nik Nazmi must realize that once in a while, he must work for the benefit of the people in Malaysia since he as the tiny part of the Government, must work for the people. If other countries can lobby and pay money to promote their policies and causes, then surely Malaysia can do the same.
Are we that naive to think that BBC or CNN or other international cable news never receive any money from interested parties to air their propaganda?
So again, what is the problem here?